First PFAS/PFOS foam system conversion on Swedish ferry

2024-03-01T18:26:47+00:00 March 1st, 2024|Environment|

Maritime engineering specialist,Scanunit has carried out what it believes is the world’s first replacement and de-contamination of a PFAS/PFOS foam firefighting system on a commercial vessel.

‘Aurora’, a 1992-built ferry operated by EQT-owned Öresundslinjen (a subsidiary of Molslinjen), was the vessel concerned and the work was carried out over the weekend of 27th and 28th January.

An adopted IMO resolution will see the phase-out of foam firefighting systems that use fluorinated foams containing perfluoro-octane sulfonic acid (PFOS) as the foam-producing component, because of their negative impact on human health and the environment.

Their longevity has resulted in them being dubbed ‘forever chemicals’.

Work on ‘Aurora’ involved the removal of some 200 litres of AFFF foam containing PFAS/PFOS followed by de-contamination of the tanks, 200 m of pipelines and 52 spray nozzles of the ship’s firefighting system.

The de-contamination was performed by Scanunit using Sani A supplied by LifeClean, a specialist chemical provider based in Sweden.

De-contamination and cleaning of the system produced 2,200 litres of wastewater, which was removed by waste disposal contractor Fortum.

Testing of the system after the changeover showed it was now far below the ECHA and EPA restriction of 1 ppm. The test carried out by Eurofins laboratory analysts on the ‘Aurora’ sample returned a result of just 4,400ng/l or 0.0044ppm.

This collaboration between Scanunit, Life-Clean, Johnson Control, and Fortum Waste Solutions was a collective commitment to environmental responsibility and innovation in the maritime industry, the companies said.

The successful project not only meets the impending regulatory requirements but also sets a new standard for the industry’s approach to environmental safety and sustainability.

Marcin Mikołajczak, Scanunit’s Managing Director, said. “We are proud to support Öresundslinjen in reaching their environmental goals.

”Our innovative de-contamination process reflects our commitment to delivering environmentally conscious and effective marine engineering solutions,” he said.

Christion Andersson, Senior Chief Engineer, Öresundslinjen/’Aurora’ (pictured), added, “Finally, after almost 12 months of evaluating different options to get the ships engine room fire suppression system PFOS/PFAS free, we chose to team up with Scanunit and LifeClean to de-contaminate the system.

“Their strong co-operation together with Johnson Control, Fortum Waste Solutions and Eurofins gave us a cost-efficient option, which met our expectations. Excellent project planning together with the ship’s crew meant the job was completed during the ships regular weekend night layup avoiding unnecessary down time.

“The ship is now ready for the 2026 PFOS ban with a fluor-free system and once again our efforts leading the industry in sustainability and environmental responsibility by taking early action has paid back,” he said.